Landlord Accused of Discriminating Against Servicemembers

A corporate landlord that refused to allow tenants who were active duty members of the U.S. Air Force to terminate their leases early has agreed to pay damages to settle a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice on behalf of the tenants.

The lawsuit alleged that the landlord, which manages over 30 apartment complexes nationwide, violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by refusing to allow tenants who were servicemembers to terminate their leases early in order to comply with their military orders.

The SCRA provides certain protections to active duty servicemembers who must terminate residential leases to comply with military orders for a permanent change of station or for deployment.

Under the terms of the settlement, the landlord must pay a total of $12,500 in damages to four identified servicemembers, and up to $20,000 to compensate any additional servicemembers harmed by the actions.  The company is also prohibited from engaging in future violations of the SCRA.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska, Deborah R. Gilg, commented,”No service man or woman engaged in protecting all of us from harm should suffer financial damage from landlords who seek to thwart the protection our laws afford our service personnel.

The Justice Departments investigation of this matter originated with a referral from a neighboring Air Force legal center.

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